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Showdown Ahead Over House & Senate Tax Bills; Roy Moore Accused of Sexual Encounters with Young Girls; Transgender Candidate Wins State Seat in Virginia; The Life of Iconic Celebrity Chef Jeremiah Tower. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired November 10, 2017 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The House has their version and the Senate has their version and we reconcile the differences. That is going to happen. But when you talk about the incredibly close deadline that they have by the end of the year, most certainly this will be a bumpy path ahead, and they do not want anything to knock them off track-- Kate?


Sunlen Serfaty, thank you so much. Sunlen, really appreciate it.

Joining me right now to discuss much more, Republican Congressman Jodey Arrington, of Texas.

Congressman, thanks for coming in.

REP. JODEY ARRINGTON, (R), TEXAS: Thank you for having me, Kate. Greetings from west Texas.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, sir.

Now that the Senate bill is out, you've had a chance to take a look at what they've got in it and there are differences. Would you vote for the Senate bill?

ARRINGTON: I think we should go all the way through the regular order and have a conference at this point. What I know, we're still combing through it, I don't think keeping seven tax brackets is simplifying the code on the individual income side. The corporate rates kicking in a year from now is unacceptable to me because -- and I think most of my colleagues feel the same. We need immediate impact. We need to get those jobs back from overseas. We need to create the opportunities for middle-class and working Americans now and we can't punt for another year or multiple years down the road. I think they wait until '19 to implement the corporate tax cuts and the death tax. Out here, we just think it's fundamentally --


BOLDUAN: Folks have to give, right? There's a big difference between the House and Senate. Where do you think the House needs to give to get the thing over the finish line? ARRINGTON: Well, I think the death tax is not going to be an area

that we're going to budge on because we need to eliminate it. It's wholly and fundamentally unfair for people who have to sell their assets just to pay for the death tax after being taxed their whole lives. I think just making it more simplified on the individual side and having things implemented immediately so that we can feel the effects. But you're right, we'll go to conference and find common solution. I think we will push this forward to the president's desk and do it by the end of the year.

BOLDUAN: So Paul Ryan said this week, everyone is getting a tax cut. Mitch McConnell said this week no one in the middle class will see their tax goes up. Listen here then to John Thune and Trent Franks.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you guarantee that no middle-class family will see their taxes go up?

SEN. JON THUNE, (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Nora, I don't think you can guarantee every filer is -- that that's going to be the case.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, at this point, are you comfortable being able to guarantee no middle-class family will see their taxes go up?

REP. TRENT FRANKS, (R), ARIZONA: You know, I would never try to guarantee anything like that.


ARRINGTON: The majority of middle --

BOLDUAN: Congressman --

ARRINGTON: -- working Americans --

BOLDUAN: Congressman --

ARRINGTON: -- by virtue - yes?

BOLDUAN: Yes. Congressman can you guarantee no middle-class family will see their taxes go up?

ARRINGTON: Listen, the vast majority of middle-class and working Americans will benefit immediately with the standard deduction being raised by two times, 24,000 tax-free for a family and then you have the lowest income brackets having the deepest cuts. I don't see how middle-class and working Americans won't see a tax break in this.

BOLDUAN: But, I mean, but you heard the honest answers from Republicans that they aren't comfortable saying -- they say a large amount of middle-class families they are comfortable saying will see a tax cut and their taxes won't go up, but can you guarantee no middle- class family will see their taxes go up?

ARRINGTON: I think the reason they're saying this is because this is still a moving target. You've got -- it would -- just came out of ways and means in the House. I was glad to see, for example, that the first 75,000 of a start-up company will be taxed at 9 percent. That's great. So it's moving in the right direction. Even in the --


BOLDUAN: Congressman, isn't that the whole point? The White House says if the middle class see their taxes go up they will not sign it. Isn't that the point of this, the middle class isn't going to see their taxes go up?

ARRINGTON: Listen, everybody deserves to keep more of their hard- earned money. Everybody. And the fact is you got a third of the American people that pay nothing into the system at all and just receive benefits from their country. This is squarely a middle-class and working American tax break and a job incentive to create better- paying jobs and opportunities for all Americans, but especially the people in the middle class. Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: Middle class stand by to see if everyone gets a tax cut when it comes to this, though. As you said, still a work in progress.

I need to ask you, a lot of questions this morning, about the Republican nominee for Senate in Alabama, Roy Moore. What's your reaction to the allegations against him?

ARRINGTON: Well, I think first of all, they're allegations. And so it's a "he said/she said" at this point. And I would say if the allegations are true, that's a real problem for Mr. Moore. And I think if they're true he ought not to run for the United States Senate.

[11:35:06] BOLDUAN: What more is there to learn? That's the question a lot are asking today. I'm hearing from Republicans as well, what more is there to learn? If it's four people on the record, the then 14-year-old says -- is on the record talking about what amounts to sexual abuse, back then, and 30 people corroborated their stories? And these -- and this then 14-year-old not that it should matter says she's voted Republican in the last three elections and voted Republican for Donald Trump. What more is there to learn?

ARRINGTON: Well, I mean, we have something called due process in the United States, and god help us all if we're trying cases in "The Washington Post." That's how I come down. Let's have the true arbiters of facts, and people who should be rendering by a jury of their peers something that is this important. This is a campaign. Again, "he said/she said." I think it's a problem if it's true. I think that's what the president has said and I think that's what you'll hear from most Republicans, but --


BOLDUAN: But Congressman, there's not going to be a case. There's not going to be a case. There's no -- there's not going to be a case here. I'm not asking you if he's guilty or innocent. I'm asking if he should be a United States Senator? ARRINGTON: And I'm telling you that the only way to render a verdict

of he's telling the truth or they're telling the truth is to have a jury of their peers and have due process, not play it out in the national media.

BOLDUAN: There's not going to be a case. Statute of limitations on this. This is what voters get to decide on. Do you think voters should vote for him?

ARRINGTON: Well, I think you're right. Now it's going to be part of the consideration for his voters, but the fact is, he's saying -- he's denying the allegations and you got "The Washington Post" which is not exactly the pillar of unbiased journalism saying another thing. So I'm going to let this play out for the people --


BOLDUAN: "The Washington Post" -- with all due respect, and I'm not speaking here for "The Washington Post" -- this is a woman on the record, her face, her voice, her name, her family, saying what happened to her when she was 14 years old, and 30 people also corroborating these stories as well. It's not "The Washington Post" versus Roy Moore. It is a woman telling her story that she says is her truth versus Roy Moore. Do you think he should be a United States Senator?

ARRINGTON: I think it's -- I think the information from the young lady now not so young, but at the time underage, I think that's disconcerting. And if it's true, I think Roy Moore is unfit to be running for the United States Senate.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

ARRINGTON: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, she defeated the man who called himself Virginia's chief homophobe. And next, I'm going to speak with the first openly transgender person ever elected to a state legislature.

But first this, voting is now under way for CNN's Hero of the Year. Meet one of these -- one of this year's top-10 nominees, Jennifer Maddox, a Chicago police officer, who is working to stop violence before it even starts.


JENNIFER MADDOX, CNN HERO: A lot of our young people are fearful to come outside. The shooting, the killing. Five-, six-, seven-year- olds, are losing people that they love and care about.

UNIDENTIEID GIRL: My god brother.




MADDOX: We are in a state of emergency here in the city of Chicago. I'm a law enforcement officer, but I'm also a mother and a member of this community. I don't think that any child should grow up feeling like this could be it.

Our center offers an escape for the young people.


MADDOX: We make sure that the kids have healthy, hot meals, they get help with their homework.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you do with the one.

MADDOX: We mentor them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't cry. Don't cry.

MADDOX: I am very proud to be one of the bridges to connect police and community. We have to learn to trust one another.


[11:39:20] BOLDUAN: You can vote for Jennifer, or any of your favorite top-10 heroes, right now at

We'll be right back.


BOLDUAN: When Democrats swept key elections Tuesday night, much of the attention was on the governors' races in New Jersey and Virginia. One state contest is heralded as sending a large message. Democrat Danica Roem is the first openly transgender person to be elected to state office. She won a seat in Virginia state legislature by defeating a long-time Republican incumbent, the Republican. That Republican, held the seat for 13 terms.

Danica Roem is joining me from Washington.

State Delegate-Elect, thank you for joining me.

DANICA ROEM, (D), STATE DELEGATE-ELECT, VIRGINIA: Thank you for having me on, Kate.

BOLDUAN: It was a historic win tuesday night. Has it set in now for you a few days later?

ROEM: Yes. I definitely knew what I was getting myself into and it's been a complete deluge. I have 2,700 unread messages yesterday. So yes, I mean, I knew what I was getting myself into and the job to do is help get route 28 fixed through Centerville and part of Yorkshire to replace traffic lights with overpasses where possible and alleviate our commutes on the 13th district. BOLDUAN: And I do want to talk about the issues that -- the issues of

the race in a second but there is a photograph of you that went viral on election night and we're going to show it to our viewers right here. This is from the "Washington Post." You seem overcome with emotion in the midst of it all. What was happening? Can you describe it.

[11:45:15] ROEM: Sure. So 19 out of 20 precincts reported tweeting on Prince William County's absentee ballots and didn't want to jinx anything, we had a commanding lead. But then Joe Biden called me and wished me congratulations. And that's generally when the vice president calls you, that's when you know it's time to declare victory and at that point, you know, I kind of paced around for a bit and I told the room of supporters that Joe Biden called and that we won and the reaction was so overwhelming and I just -- I felt like just throwing myself down to the ground and just kind of, you know, letting the moment happen and my dear friend, Marilyn Carp, in that photo worked so hard, along with all of her friends, and we had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of volunteers who knocked on more than 75,000 doors throughout this campaign to make this happen. So it's historic, yes, because it's a team effort. So many people worked so hard to make it happen.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you this, why do you think voters picked you over a 13-term incumbent Republican? He's been in the seat for 26 years. Do you think gender identity was an issue in this race?

ROEM: Some people tried to make it to be an issue, but I just kept talking about fixing route 28, bringing high paying jobs to innovation park, raising teacher pay, so it's not the lowest in northern Virginia, expanding Medicaid to cover 3,700 uninsured residents of the 13th district who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, those are the core quality of life issues that directly affect everyone's lives and we can work on them while championing inclusion, working to make Virginia a more inclusive commonwealth. No matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship or love you are welcome and celebrated in our Virginia because of who you are, not despite it.

BOLDUAN: Do you see your election as a sign of progress for the transgender Americans?

ROEM: One, yes, because we don't have representation, you know, in at state level government right now. In terms of being elected. But at the same time what I'm going to be able to show is that transgender people -- I'm a reporter first. I was the lead reporter of the "Gainesville Times," covering my life-long home community of Prince William County from 2006 to 2015. And I was the news editor of the "Montgomery Sentinel" up in Maryland. And we did a lot of investigative reporting under -- on the "Sentinel's" executive editor and we did a five-part water infrastructure investigative series. And because of that, I bring a large -- just like this vast knowledge of public policy issues to the table so I'm going to be able to show that. A well-qualified knowledgeable transgender person can do great work in government, whether it's dealing with transportation policy, education policy or, yes, civil rights, too. BOLDUAN: Let me ask you this, your opponent, Bob Marshal, he

disrespected you throughout the race. He wouldn't debate you, wouldn't acknowledge -- would not acknowledge your gender identity. Now that you have won what is your message to him and those who think like him?

ROEM: Like I said before, you know, come this January, once I'm sworn in, you know, I will -- I'm not in the business of attacking my constituents and I'll -- Marshall will be one of my constituents and that means for him, for, you know, his family, I'm sure this is a very hard time for them right now and I have to represent them, I have to represent even the people who didn't vote for me. But fortunately, we had a strong overwhelming majority who did and my job is to be the, you know, most inclusive, best, you know, delegate I can be, where, you know, I get to tell people that if you have good public policy ideas, if you're well qualified for office, you have your right as an American to bring those ideas to the table because of the ideas themselves, not because of the inherent identifiers of the person presenting them. You can succeed because of who you are. And it's not despite it. It wasn't an obstacle I had to overcome. I succeed because I'm a journalist, because I'm transgender, because I'm a step mom, because, you know, of my background music, everything. It's just this is who I am and I'm so excited to get to work to finally start dealing with some major infrastructure issues that we have in Prince William County.

BOLDUAN: That will happen soon.

Danica Roem, thank you for your time. Good luck in the job ahead.

ROEM: Thank you so much, Kate.

[11:49:52] BOLDUAN: Appreciate it.

Coming up for us before top chef and the Food Network and all of the food blogs you read, there was Jeremiah Tower. Who was he? Who is he? Why is he the most famous chef you've never heard of?


BOLDUAN: Jeremiah Tower, one of America's most influential celebrity chefs. Until now, he has been left out of much of culinary history, but CNN's Anthony Bourdain is putting this forgotten icon back in the spotlight with a new documentary. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most people would not know who Jeremiah Tower is. Sadly, he certainly is considered in my book a father of the American cuisine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the '80s and early '90s, Jeremiah Tower was one of the major names in this country. He was on the front of magazines. He was known all over Europe. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first thing I heard about after I heard about

this was Jeremiah Tower, he was the darling, the glamour pus, the sexy guy, the smart guy and the innovative chef that became something that was what everyone wanted to know about.


BOLDUAN: The glamour pus, the sexy guy.

Joining me now, the glamour pus, sexy guy, Frank Bruni, "New York Times" columnist, who was chief restaurant critic for the "Times" for a time. He's also a CNN contributor.

Great to see you, Frank. Thanks for being here.


BOLDUAN: You say that Tower is, "By far and away, more important than anyone on the food scene today or ever." Why is that?

BRUNI: Did I say that? That's quite a superlative. If you were drawing up a short list of people who influenced the way we eat in restaurants today in a city like New York, he would be on that short list and near the top of it. What is so fascinating about him and great about the documentary is not many people know that. People who are newly minted foodies in the last 10 to 20 years, they maybe vaguely heard his name once or twice and don't know who he is. This documentary will correct history.

[11:55:18] BOLDUAN: Why do so many people have no idea who he is.

BRUNI: He was a celebrity chef before celebrity chefs happened. His decade was the '70s and '80s. Nowadays, people can real off the lists of 20 or 30 or 40 chefs. They can tell you who the chef is in Dallas or Nashville. That wasn't the case in his heyday which was the '70s and '80s in San Francisco.

BOLDUAN: Fascinating. He's hot and he disappears, seems at the height of it. And he attempts to come back here at the Tavern on the Green here in New York.

BRUNI: Unfortunately.

BOLDUAN: What did you think of it?

BRUNI: Everybody knew that was not going to work. Tavern on the Green has hundreds and hundreds of seats. It's impossible to do food at that level with the precision he wants to do it in that format. Tavern on the Green is the Everest that no one has gotten to the top of. He was stranded at base camp. And that's as far as anyone got before or since and Tavern on the Green never going to happen as a great restaurant.

BOLDUAN: So is the truth. Is there a Jeremiah Tower lesson for today's celebrity chefs? BRUNI: I thank the lesson I got from his career and from watching the

documentary is bigger than food. You can burn out really quickly if you bring too much too fast and you don't pace yourself. You watch it and you get a sense this is a guy who in the '80s who shot everything he had.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Frank.

BRUNI: Good to see you.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk food more often. So much fun.

Be sure to catch the new film, "Anthony Bourdain Presents Jeremiah Tower," 9:00 p.m., here on CNN.

Still coming up, more on the fallout over sexual abuse allegations against Roy Moore. Could it put this reliably red seat in play for Democrats? What happens now? That's ahead.